Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Responses to the outbreak of novel influenza A (H1N1) in Japan: Risk communication and shimaguni konjo

Jun Shigemura, MD, Koichi Nakamoto, MD, PhD, Robert J. Ursano, MD

Abstract


In Japan, national outbreak of novel influenza A (H1N1) triggered serious social disruption. The public perceived overwhelming fear and their behaviors were severely affected. Countless events were put off, with massive economic losses due to activity cancellations. The heightened fear may have been a mixture of risk communication consequences, geographic characteristics (island nation), and culture-bound fear related to shimaguni konjo, or “island mentality”; according to a Japanese cultural norm, the “outside” is considered “impure” and is often covered-up, criticized, and avoided. These consequences shed light on cultural effects on collective behaviors, along with the importance of risk communication strategies.

Keywords


influenza, pandemic, risk communication, public fear, cultural competence

Full Text:

PDF

References


The Yomiuri Shimbun: Seventy percent do not perceive fear of infection. May 10, 2009: 30 (morning edition).

Yomiuri Online: Governor Hashimoto decides early normalization, continues quarantine efforts.Available at http://osaka.yomiuri. co.jp/tokusyu/influenza/if90524e.htm. Accessed June 9, 2009.

The Yomiuri Shimbun: Mask shortages. May 21, 2009: 35 (morning edition).

The Nikkei: Two thousand schools cancels/postpones school trips. May 27, 2009: 39 (morning edition).

The Yomiuri Shimbun: Potential damage to the travel industry: Novel influenza—A wave of cancellations. May 21, 2009: 11 (morning edition).

Calman KC: Communication of risk: Choice, consent, and trust. Lancet. 2002; 360(9327): 166-168.

Mawson AR: Understanding mass panic and other collective responses to threat and disaster. Psychiatry. 2005; 68(2): 95-113.

Hamaoka DA, Shigemura J, Hall MJ, et al.: Mental health’s role in combating terror. J Ment Health. 2004; 13(6): 531-535.

Asahi.com: Governor Hashimoto pleads the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry for novel influenza measure revisions. Available at www.asahi.com/special/09015/OSK200905170047. html. Accessed June 9, 2009.

World Health Organization: Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response (EPR): Travel. Available at www.who.int/csr/disease/ swineflu/frequently_asked_questions/travel/en/index.html. Accessed June 9, 2009.

De Mente BL: Japan’s Cultural Code Words: 233 Key Terms That Explain the Attitudes and Behavior of the Japanese. North Clarendon,VT: Tuttle Publishing, 2004.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/ajdm.2009.0020

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.